I am now three weeks into the Riot for Austerity. I didn’t post an update last week because I just got too busy. I am trying to apply the 90% reduction to computer time as well.
Gasoline: I blew it this week. We filled the gas tank last weekend and it cost $73! Holy Moley! I took Moira to camp and that was a 50-mile round trip. But swimming lessons are over, so that cut out 10 miles every day for four days. The problem was that today I had to go back and get her again. Even worse, we got almost home and stopped at the beach to go swimming. Then she discovered that she forgot her towel at camp. So we had to go back for another 40-mile round trip to get it again. Our tank is now almost empty. Terry only drove to work three days this week. He was ill on Monday, and didn’t feel like riding his bike, so he drove, then came home after just two hours. The next two days he felt well enough to work, but not well enough to ride.
Electricity: I still don’t know how much we use, so I am just trying to reduce in general. We moved the computers upstairs to our bedroom so it is much more inconvenient to be on them before the kids go to bed. It works – we are on them less now. Our freezer is chock full, which I understand helps keep the energy use down.
Heating and cooking: We got a woodstove on Freecycle. That also contributed to our gasoline consumption since it was also about a 50-mile round trip to get it. It is currently in the back of the van and we have no idea how we are going to get it out of the van, or where we will put it once it is out. But at least we know we will be warm this winter, regardless of where we are living. I have been trying to convince my husband to take the plunge and buy some bare land and go year-round camping. Our lease is up in one month. We will see if he goes for it.
Garbage: I still don’t have a scale with which to weigh my garbage, and I am not inclined to buy one, either. I am now taking the trash out every two or three days, and it is not full to the top, but it is heavy enough to threaten ripping the bag when I take it out of the can.
Water: We have stopped flushing for every single toilet use. I did have to start actually putting the lid down because the baby found the colored water fascinating. My girls learned the little rhyme I learned from a fellow rioter: If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down. They then started asking about if the pee turned brown, does it count as brown or yellow? I said they could flush it then. My husband flushes it when he can smell it from outside the bathroom (usually it also means the lid is up). I am also washing the dishes in a sink of water about half the time now instead of in constantly running water. I still don’t know, however, what our actual numbers are for usage.
Consumer goods: In addition to not flushing the toilet anymore, we stopped using toilet paper. My husband has brought home around 200 washcloths over the last two years from work, so I put them to use. I have a pile on the back of each toilet, and a bucket in the downstairs bathroom. The TP does come out when we have company, though. Consumer goods I am noticing is a tough one to kick. We went to the bookstore and spent far more money than I had originally anticipated. The sneaky part is that my brain has a way of justifying each and every purchase. Whether that justification is logical or not is a matter of opinion. The Field guide to edible wild plants and the book about tanning and skinning were based on our preparation for the future and self-sufficiency. Harry Potter, though, is Harry Potter. You can’t refuse. Next on my book list is a book that Sharon Astyk mentioned in her food preservation blog.
I am still plugging away on my rug, too. I want to finish it before I start any new projects. It is trying my limited patience. I am not one to finish things that I start, and that is something I have to conquer. I may not make it as large as I originally intended (which was 4’ by 6’), but I will go until I have used up all the sheets I assigned to it. It is already about 12-18” wide now, and maybe 3’ long.
We are also starting the house-hunting procedure. I am hoping to buy a piece of property this fall, before the dollar completely fails, even if the housing market does crash shortly thereafter. It would be very nice of the housing market crashes before the dollar, but I don’t know if I want to bet on that.
1 year ago